Library Wars: Love & War Volume 4
I gave this series by Kiiro Yumi another try in the hopes that the disappointing elements of the previous volume had been downplayed or changed. Sadly, they haven’t.
If anything, the melodrama in Library Wars: Love & War volume 4 has been ramped up, to levels I found ridiculous. The big reveal of the first two chapters — all while we keep hearing how brave Iku is now that she’s been kidnapped — is that Iku’s long-ago hero inspiration is her current boss. That’s a “secret” most readers have known since the first book in the series. And it means we get yet another flashback recap of those events, a scene at this point I was tired of seeing.
The art’s generic, with lots of tone and shading, and I’m no longer charmed by the dippy Iku. She means well, but that doesn’t make up for her general incompetence, and her strength is mostly portrayed as being able to take a slap in the face. Hearing others talk about how strong and dedicated she is just reads false, like the authorial voice can overcome what we see in the story for ourselves.
The most entertaining part of the book for me was when the Library Army finds out which particular vacant building the kidnappers are hiding in. The order goes out, “Purchase the building from the developer. Pay the asking price. We’ve got thirty minutes!” The idea that the forces would buy a building so they could legally storm it just struck me as immensely silly but with the potential to say a lot more about the organization than we realized. Only it’s not really explained or followed up.
The second half of the book is about how Iku has been lying to her parents (so they won’t know she’s in such a dangerous job), so when they come to visit, her co-workers have to help her cover it up. In other words, it’s the plot of various sitcom episodes. (The publisher provided a review copy.)